Questions tagged [physical-chemistry]

Study of macroscopic and microscopic phenomena in chemical systems in terms of physical laws and concepts [thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, kinetic theory, quantum mechanics...].

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
7
votes
2answers
4k views

What happens to chemical compunds that include radioactive nuclei, when those decay?

Say you have a chemical compound made up of one or more radioactive nuclei. If the nucleus decays, does the compound? Possible outcomes I can think of: the compounds continues to exist if a bonding ...
8
votes
5answers
21k views

How does ATP transfer energy to a reaction?

This is a question for which I've found it surprisingly hard to find a good answer. Biology texts talk mystically about the ATP->ADP reaction providing energy to power other reactions. I'd like to ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Chemical potential interpretation

Something that has bothered me for a while regards the interpretation of chemical potential for different statistics. While I understand its meaning in metals (and its relation with the Fermi surface),...
3
votes
1answer
350 views

determination of voltaic cell voltage

if i understood this correctly, the determination of voltage for a specific voltaic (gallvanic) cell is determined only by the chemical correlation between the two metals. is this true? for an ...
6
votes
1answer
760 views

What is the purpose of a “protect from light” warning?

Some food or medical items, like rasberry juice concentrate I just bought, have a "protect from light" warning on the label. How can light influence products like milk and what does this warning mean ...
2
votes
1answer
432 views

Equations describing the liquifaction of gases

I would like to find out how much energy is required to liquify gases (oxygen or nitrogen, for example). What are some relevant equations? I'm curious whether creating small quantities of dry ice or ...
15
votes
4answers
8k views

Why does amount of protons define how matter is?

My question might sound convoluted but my mind is twisting right now so my apologies in advanced. Why is it that when I have one proton and one electron it is Hydrogen a clear flammable gas, and ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the angular momentum spectrum of an sp${}^3$ electron?

So, one thing has been annoying me ever since I learned about orbital hybridization: you explain the shape of molecules by postulating that the orbitals of multi-electron atoms are linear combinations ...
32
votes
6answers
8k views

Where should a physicist go to learn chemistry?

I took an introductory chemistry course long ago, but the rules seemed arbitrary, and I've forgotten most of what I learned. Now that I have an undergraduate education in physics, I should be able to ...
12
votes
2answers
835 views

Explaining valence with quantum mechanics

Can anyone give me a quantum mechanical explanation of the theory of valence? (i.e. why atoms bond just enough to have a complete orbital) EDIT: To clarify, I already have an idea of why atoms bond, ...
4
votes
1answer
934 views

Energy levels in disordered organic semiconductors?

Now in disordered organics, the band picture is thrown out the window, from what I can tell (due to lack of symmetry). But don't HOMO/LUMO levels basically take the place of conduction/valence bands ...
4
votes
2answers
290 views

Why are the lighter halogens gases?

In the periodic table of the elements, only a few of the elements are gases at standard temperature and pressure. Those elements include the noble gases some of the halogens, and a few of the elements ...
8
votes
2answers
5k views

Why is quicksilver (mercury) liquid at room temperature?

This is a nice question when you find it out, and I am really looking for a proper answer. Take quicksilver (Hg) in the periodic table. It has one proton more than Gold (melting point 1337.33 K), and ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the mechanism of dielectric saturation?

It is known from experiments that the dielectric constant of a solvent might decrease in regions where there is a strong electric field, for example, near a highly charged ion in an infinitely dilute ...
2
votes
2answers
7k views

Obtain oxidation numbers from looking at electron configuration?

Suppose I know that Selenium has electron configuration $[Ar] 4s^2 3d^{10} 4p^4$. How can I use this information to then come to the conclusion that its possible oxidation states are 6, 4, 2, 1 and -...
7
votes
2answers
14k views

Why are the noble metals inert?

I am wondering: The noble 'gases' are inert because they have closed shells and don't want to give that up. But the noble metals, such as Copper, Silver, Rhodium, Gold, don't seem to have this. For ...
1
vote
2answers
521 views

Why are the alkali and alkaline earth metals present in the ashes of burnt wood? [closed]

The alkali earth metals form the two left-most column of the periodic table of the elements, other than hydrogen. See wikipedia articles: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alkali_metal http://en.wikipedia....
8
votes
3answers
4k views

How are the calories in food calculated?

This is intended to be a fun question. Calorimetry used for calculating the heat generated from chemical changes has been around for centuries, however, I suspect the process for calculating food ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Why is Avogadro's hypothesis true?

Why is the number of molecules in a standard volume of gas at a standard temperature and pressure a constant, regardless of the molecule's composition or weight? Let's say I have a closed box full of ...
23
votes
3answers
4k views

Why the distribution of elements on Earth?

I've been wondering exactly why the elements are distributed the way they are on Earth. The heavier elements have their origins in the centers of stars, or in supernovae. After the death of the stars, ...
18
votes
4answers
10k views

Boiling water and salt

I would like to have a good understanding of what is happening when you add salt to boiling water. My understanding is that the boiling point will be higher, thus lengthening the process (obtaining ...